- Griffin Swartzell
- Fill out a paper menu at The Pub and create to your heart’s delight.
It’s hard to change things up at a sports bar without the space taking on some other character — becoming an Irish pub, a gastropub or some entirely different food and drink establishment. That said, The Pub’s owner, Springs native Benjamin Olson, has hit on something unique.
The Pub handles ordering differently than most bars. Patrons check their orders off on paper menus, similar to many sushi restaurants. Here, that design means most menu items are build-your-own. So salads, burgers, nachos, wings and pizzas all come to the table made-to-order, and The Pub offers a wide range of sauces and toppings to meet the tastes of all comers.
From the finger food list, we go for the fried pickles, which our server suggests we pair with spicy mayo. The pickles come in a thin coating that gets the job done but isn’t amazing, and they’re tossed in a mix of seasoned salt with a faint spicy kick. We also get the fried cod, coated with the same thin batter as the pickles. The fish pieces arrive tender and moist, but lack salt. Side fries do fine, though we’re more fond of thick-cut, thick-coated onion rings.
Burgers come with one to four quarter-pound patties. We think of the fictional Big Kahuna when designing our tasty burger, adding Pepper Jack cheese, teriyaki sauce, red onions, pineapple and bacon. The flavors, no surprise, combine well, but there’s an issue: The pineapple comes from a can and the big, uncooked chunks sog the bottom bun and make any individual bite untenable. Pineapple rings would do better, especially with a quick cook on the flattop.
Moving on, we make some offbeat choices and assemble a breakfast pizza, sauced with green chile instead of red sauce, then topped with scrambled egg, bacon, cheddar, red onion and mushrooms. It works better than it has any right to, the heavy toppings pairing well with a base that resembles bread more than pizza crust.
We also find quality in wings and go for sauces rated two peppers out of three for heat — Dancing Buffalo, Mean Green and chipotle — with chunky bleu cheese dressing for dipping and floppy sweet potato fries on the side. That Buffalo sauce has less vinegar tang than many we’ve had, and it bears a good pepper flavor along with no-joke heat. The Mean Green sauce also has a good tang, but the flavor of green chiles doesn’t read, though the heat level’s similar to the Buffalo sauce. Our favorite has to be the chipotle sauce, as smoky as it is tangy and a delight. If we have a complaint, it’s that our requested extra crispy wings aren’t terribly crispy.
The Pub offers a few signature cocktails, including a Breckenridge bourbon Pub Smash with peach schnapps, lemon juice, mint leaves and too much simple syrup, making it overly sweet. A Pub Manhattan comes with a whisper of sweet vermouth, drastically reduced from traditional recipes to not overwhelm mild Breck bourbon. It’s good, if a little thin, and points for trying something different. But, then, one could say the same about the menu: It’s not perfect, but it’s unique.